Wednesday, October 3, 2018
1 Peter 1:3-5 All honor to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is by his boundless mercy that God has given us the privilege of being born again. Now we live with a wonderful expectation because Jesus Christ rose again from the dead. For God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And God, in his mighty power, will protect you until you receive this salvation, because you are trusting him.
An inheritance can be pretty exciting. I remember a story I was told by a woman who had been a widow for 18 years. Her husband had been a pastor. She told us that when her husband died, she was left with only $2000 in the bank after his funeral. Her social security income would not cover her expenses. Then she received a phone call from a lawyer. One of her uncles had died, and he had not left a will. After going through probate, it was determined that she and several other relatives would receive equal shares of the estate. It was a large estate. She now lives in a beautiful assisted living facility in the Twin Cities. She is quite comfortable. God gave her an inheritance that supplied all her needs. Her faithful service in the ministry, where very little was assigned to retirement benefits, was rewarded.
Our faithful service in ministry to the King will also be rewarded with an incredible inheritance someday. We have been made joint heirs with Jesus of all that is in eternity. Imagine how much that is. If the city in which we will live has streets of gold, imagine what our mansions will be like. If the homes built for us to live in are paid for completely from the resources of glory, and we get an equal share of all those resources, imagine how much that is. Now before we get too carried away, we must be careful to not get overcome by self-centered theology. Our hope of reward is not to be our primary motivation for ministry. However, the knowledge of a reward is certainly a part of the gift of salvation that does motivate us. We have an inheritance coming, and it’s far more than any rich uncle could ever give us.
It’s not wrong to look ahead to the hope of glory and the priceless inheritance God has reserved for His children. In fact, it’s wrong not to. When we stop looking ahead we begin looking around. I love to look around when I’m driving. It drives my wife nuts. How many times has she had to verbally correct a steering error because the car is moving in the direction of my eyes?
The same is true of our spiritual lives. The more we look ahead, and keep our eyes fixed on the finish line of glory and the inheritance waiting for us there, the less time we will spend looking around at what the world offers as alternatives. Looking ahead keeps us fixed on our goal. Looking at the dead deer in the ditch just might lead to us becoming his decomposition buddy. It certainly puts us at risk.
No earthly substitute can be found for the inheritance that awaits us in glory. No retirement fund beats the eternal one. No earthly purchase can match your heavenly purpose.
The prophet Isaiah says, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”
The risk of taking our eyes off the final inheritance in heaven is that we will settle for mediocrity now. That’s what happened to the church at Laodicea. Look at what Jesus says to them. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich.” They were ineffective in ministry because they were invested in what the world could offer them.
The same will happen to us if we don’t keep investing in the eternal kingdom. Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be. Let’s start building bigger investments into our eternal inheritance. The stock we buy in God’s Kingdom will never crash.